“Let this Prince mull over it.”
Looking at the distraught expression on Ning Chen, the prince couldn’t bear to just let him wallow like that. Stepping forward, he swiftly sealed all the acupuncture points on Ah Man’s body, protecting the last bit of breath in her with a rapid succession of precision strikes.
However, her Heart meridian had been destroyed so even the Xiantian was unable save her now; that was common knowledge in this world. Even if he recovered his Xiantian cultivation base, this fact wouldn’t change either.
The Xiantian weren’t omnipotent after all and everything in this world had strict rules to follow. Going against the heavenly order was possible but such instances were far and few between.
The Heart meridian of a mortal’s body was where his essence coalesced. Even though it didn’t grant awe-inspiring powers like the Dantian or Qi Ocean, the destruction of the latter would at most result in the loss of one’s cultivation base. As long as timely aid was received, it was still possible to survive. Yet, should a person’s Heart meridian ever get destroyed, there was nothing one could do.
Ah Man wasn’t a Xiantian thus she still wasn’t free from the limitations of her mortal husk. Trying to go against heaven was as difficult as climbing the heavens.
“I’m begging you.”
As the teen kowtowed, his forehead bled and his throat coughed up blood. By now, his entire face was covered in blood and his hair was a wretched mess.
Suddenly, the Prince’s eyebrows furrowed as if a thought had occurred to him but that thought caused him to pause.
At the side, the heart wrenching thuds never stopped, not even for a second. Thud after thud, his head kowtowed, slamming not only against the ground but Prince Yan’s heart as well. A long while later, a sigh escaped the man’s lips, “The only chance is to travel to Verdant Frost Gorge and find the Crystal Chestnut Flower!”
Ning Chen sharply raised his head, eyes filled with astonishment as he latched onto the prince’s words. He had heard of this place before. It was one of the coldest places in Grand Xia located in the northwest. The place snowed perpetually and nothing grew there, how could there be a flower growing there?
“You’ll understand once you get there but, this Prince has to remind you, if things don’t work out, you mustn’t push yourself.”
As he said that, his voice had a rare sense of gravity. The Crystal Chestnut Flower wasn’t just any old flower, it was extremely rare and only grew in that gorge. Yet, this was the strand of hope he was looking though it would most likely cost Ning Chen his life.
That was why he hesitated until now to bring it up. Such a method was bordering on a death sentence for Ning Chen. According to what he knew of the teen, expecting him to give up was basically impossible.
“Thank you for your guidance, Senior.” Ning Chen nodded his head before promptly bringing up another request, “if it’s possible, may I request that Senior undos the seal on the Revolving Heaven Pill within this Junior’s body.”
As of right now, he had no time to recuperate. In fact, in his current state, whether or not he could reach the Verdant Frost Gorge alive wasn’t a given either.
Prince Yan breathed a heavy sigh before focusing on his right sword finger and jabbing the teen’s Dantian. An instant later, a violent burst of medicinal strength erupted in a destructive display. The teen’s wounds were rapidly being healed up but at the same time, the medicinal strength was running amok in his body and causing an even greater harm.
Yet at that instant, Ning Chen activated the Scroll of Life within himself and forcefully absorbed the violent energies. His cultivation immediately soared, breaking through several bottlenecks in an instant till he reached the realm of Seventh-grade from the Fifth-grade.
His body glowed a radiant silver that threatened to swallow everything around it. Within his Dantian, his ocean of Qi roiled and lapped at the heavens. Even though it was continuously expanding, there were also signs of collapse spreading throughout the silvery whirlpool.
*Hng* A chesty grunt later, blood dripped down the corners of his mouth. Such a massive boost in cultivation came with a hefty price after all. That self-destructive gesture by Ning Chen brought him indescribable pain, like a thousand knives slicing his flesh and stabbing into his joints.
Having achieved the result he wanted, Ning Chen immediately focused his attention on the painful task of suppressing the internal wounds within him.
Prince Yan sighed once more. Unknowingly, the number of sighs he heaved this night had overtaken the number of sighs he heaved in the past 10 years. Emotions, if one took it too lightly, it would harm others; if one took it too seriously, it would harm himself.
Ah Man had always been a passionate girl so she had no regrets. So was Ning Chen and that was why he had to suffer through the torture of a thousand knives.
“Just go without worries, before you return, this Prince will protect her last breath even if it costs this Prince his entire lifetime of cultivation.”
Having said that, the Prince paused in thought for a moment before adding on, “Also, the manor has a Heart Severance Herb, it might be poisonous but it’s able to activate your vigor so bring some along with you. However, I still have to remind you, don’t push yourself.”
“Many thanks, Senior.”
Ning Chen solemnly kowtowed. If there was really an afterlife, this debt, he would repay it even if it his bones and flesh had to be ground to dust in the process.
In the northwestern region of Grand Xia, the chilly moon hung brightly over the lands as before. Suddenly, a carriage burst into the scene. It was a black carriage drawn by black horses, behind them the winds struggled to keep up with the racing carriage as the horses galloped through the empty plains.
Lying before the Verdant Frost Gorge was an ornately decorated sword, on its tip was a trace of blood that slowly blended into the snow that constantly battered it. At the side, was a teenager lying half-prone on the snow with eyes as cold as the winter around him. He wore a set of black and white robes that seemed to accentuate his already beautiful face. It was a lone swordsman, a swordsman that was blocking his path.
(TL: Robes refer to a traditional piece of clothing worn by the Han males. Refer to the sample picture at the bottom if you are interested.)
Bringing the carriage up to the entrance, he stopped and called out to the teen, “This one is Ning Chen, this one is here for a Crystal Chestnut Flower stalk.”
“One step further and I’ll kill you.” Without even batting an eye, the robed teen spat out a ruthless rejection and an equally ruthless murderous intent.
Looks like there was nothing more to be said here. With no other choice but to forcefully breach this pass, Ning Chen began wheeling forward.
At that same moment, the sword lying in the snow took to the sky and flourished mid air like a flower blooming in the snow. Amidst the snowy display, the robed teenager took to the skies as well and as his body moved, so did the sword. Frosty sword and icy gaze, this signalled the start of the battle.
Suddenly, he felt his cultivation base stutter, however, the situation didn’t afford him any time to consider this matter further before he had no choice but to take on the razor sharp sword head on with his impressively sturdy base of Qi.
The two swords clashed with each other, stirring up a veritable snowstorm as the shockwave pushed away the snow around them. Yet, the snowy sword wasn’t done. Without any intention of showing mercy, it swiftly spun around its inky adversary and sliced downwards. The Ink Sword, in a display of icy prowess, stuck to the snowy sword like a shadow and deflected the sword once more.
Just from his calm countenance, one could see how much Ning Chen had progressed from that harmless teenager who didn’t know how to lift a sword to the expert today. Since leaving the Imperial City, he had no choice but to learn to learn how to wield a weapon. However, now that he had his own attachments as well, he couldn’t be as fearless as before either.
Within the snowy tranquility of Verdant Frost Gorge, the battle of these young experts raged on. Their murderous intent raged yet as the battle progressed the biting cold of the gorge began to take its toll on their cultivation. Even so, with his unparalleled cultivation base forged by the Scroll of Life, Ning Chen was barely affected at all by this dampening effect. His swings barely faltered as his sword danced.
The robed teen was strong but in this frosty gorge where their cultivation was affected, one’s skills and cultivation base became the decisive factor. Still, Ning Chen didn’t dare to underestimate his opponent either. That teen was strong, even more than he had imagined. Every sword stroke seemed different from each other as if they were created from a chaotic mix of schools. However, his skill set wasn’t unorthodox either, instead, it seemed to craft an illusory scene with its unpredictable moves.
Having made no progress so far with his strikes, Ning Chen finally decided to throw caution to the winds and with his unparalleled cultivation base as his shield, forcefully took on the ever-changing swordsmanship of that teen. Creating a Qi layer a few cm away from his body ,he rushed forward with the same unchanging swing.
His wheelchair rolled forward. 10 meters away, the carriage galloped forward as well. Ning Chen’s strike was simple: advance no matter the cost.
(TL: I don’t understand the part about the carriage either but oh well…maybe he used his newtype powers to control the horses or communicate mentally with them.)
“Your moves seem to have no underlying rules to them nor do they seem to change at all, rather they seem to stem from your unparalleled cultivation base with your experiences infused within. I can feel a sort of protective will within them. However, that just makes me feel like destroying it even more.”
As he said that, the robed teen, Mu Qianshang struck out again, his snowy sword slicing through the air as quick as lightning. Bifurcating the protective layer, he swiftly followed that slash up with a forward stab that pierced the wheelchair-bound teen.
Ning Chen wasn’t able to dodge it. Immediately, fresh blood began spurting out of his right chest amidst his long, drawn out grunt. However, it was then that the icy air around him began to stir. The winds and the snow began to sway under the burst of silvery light. A split second later, the snowy sword rapidly began to freeze up.
Qianshang frowned, a silvery light flashing across his gemlike pupils as his brows furrowed together. Without loosening the grip on his sword, he activated his cultivation and forced his Qi onto his other palm in a forceful palm strike against Ning Chen’s chest.
Ignoring the crushing pain in chest, Ning Chen activated his cultivation base as well and struck out with a palm strike of his own.
A thunderous explosion echoed throughout, stirring up a vortex of snow as the clashing shockwaves pushed against each other. Beneath the two youngsters, the ground began to crack, their feet/wheels slowly sunk as a three inch deep dent formed in the ground.
Drop by drop, the ground was slowly stained red. The both of them had suffered injuries, however, in that clash of Qi, neither gained a decisive advantage over the other.
Yet, this momentary injury was all he needed. Having lost the ability to restrain the snowy sword, Mu Qianshang swiftly pulled out his sword. His sword split into countless sword shadows as he raised it into the air. Amidst the swirling snow, a radiant burst of light rushed forth and penetrated the clouds like a tower pillar of blood.
“The Bloody Moon Eclipses the Sun’s Reflection.”
An ultimate strike to match an equally extreme swordsmanship. A cascading wave of pressure blasted out of the robed teen as his Qi surged. There was no holding back now, this move will end this life and death battle once and for all.
With no other choice and no way to retreat, Ning Chen activated the last bit of his cultivation. In that instant, the surroundings snowed and the ice shook. A silvery world of wind and snow swirled and the Ink Sword split up. From one to a thousand, from a thousand to one.
“A Feather’s Flight, The One Sword of the Heavens and Earth.”
Ning Chen’s ultimate move appeared once more. Having activated his strongest move with that battered body of his, he was immediately struck with a wave of nausea before spitting out a mouth of fresh blood a second later that stained the swirling wind and snow red.
The snowy sword swung and the world seemed to turn white for a second from its momentary brilliance. Yet just as it neared its prey, it abruptly halted. Mu Qianshang frowned and withdrew his sword, slinging it behind his back.
“You’re injured, this battle is meaningless, please leave.”
With that, the curtains drew to a close on the battle. Turning around, Mu Qianshang slowly walked back into the gorge.
“I’m willing to pay any price as long as you’ll give me a stalk of the Crystal Chestnut Flower.” Bearing the gut wrenching pain with each word he spoke, Ning Chen sincerely begged the departing teen.
Qianshang stopped and turned around, a light flashing across his beguiling pupils as he did so, “Any price?”
“Any price.” He nodded without any hesitation.
“Foolish.” Throwing down that cold snort, he departed. Behind him, an emotionless voice trailed in the winds, “Enter.”
Ning Chen wheeled off after the teen, leaving behind only a pair of blood prints in the snow as proof of their battle.
Standing on top of the vast frozen lake, Mu Qianshang stopped and admired the snowy white scenery with emotionless eyes that seemed like an abyss.
“This is the Thousand Snow Lake. This is where the Crystal Chestnut Flower will grow. All you have to do is plant your blood and wait. However, in these thousand years, only three people have ever succeeded. Whether or not you’ll be able to coalesce a Crystal Chestnut Flower is all up to your luck.”
Having said that, Mu Qianshang turned around to glance at Ning Chen. In a cold voice, “Let me see this so-called price you’re willing to pay.”
“Many thanks.” Ning Chen’s eyes opened wide in shock for a second before expressing his thanks. Running his sword across his finger slightly, a centimeter long cut appeared across his right index finger and from it, drips of blood began falling onto the icy lake. Having dribbled onto the chilly surface, Ning Chen then buried the blood with a pile of snow and began waiting. A moment later however, there was still no signs of movement.
Still, Ning Chen wasn’t discouraged and instead wheeled off to a different location and repeated the same process of planting, burying and waiting.
Not too far off, Mu Qianshang quietly waited and watched from the sides, his pupils fixed on the teen.
Half a day later, Ning Chen munched down on a Heart Severance Herb and began meditating in order to suppress his wounds. Around him, the lake was as quiet and still as before with no change in sight.
The cut on his index finger had formed a scab so he switched to another finger. Another half a day later, that finger formed a scab as well. He then switched to another finger.
Thus, three days passed like this. Having run out of fingers to switch to thanks to the scabs, he frowned for a second before decisively ripping off the scab and cutting a deeper wound.
Even now, there was still no sign of change from the lake. The blood he planted hadn’t grown into a Crystal Chestnut Flower. However, thanks to the Scroll of Life, his recovery speed was a lot quicker than normal people so there still wasn’t much effect on him.
Another four days had passed and his ten fingers had undergone another round of scab peeling. This time however, the blood didn’t flow as freely.
Munching down on another Heart Severance Herb, he got down to peeling off the scabs and down to planting his seed of hope once more.
By now, the pain in his fingers didn’t seem that much anymore.
Mu Qianshang walked over and glanced at the teen before blandly asking, “Do you have any last wishes?”
Looking at his index finger which bled no more, his brows furrowed before promptly ripping about the scab on it. In a hoarse voice, he replied, “Once the Crystal Chestnut Flower has bloomed, help me deliver it to Prince Yue’s manor in the southern region.”